Kapalbhati in Vajrasana

Technically Kapalbhati breathing is not one of the 26 postures, but is a breathing exercise. If you find yourself thinking, ‘what the heck is that,’ or ‘I fell like I’m in a Lamaze class,’ this is completely normal. This posture not only detoxifies the blood and the internal organs via the respiratory system, but also strengthens the abdomen and increases circulation to all of the abdominal organs. Also, it’s important to note that breathing like this stimulates the digestive system. Bikram says if you breathe like this every day, you can digest rocks. “The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga,” says if you breathe like this every day, you can digest poison. We wouldn’t recommend trying either, but it’s definitely something to think about.

To do Kapalbhati breathing start sitting kneeling position, spine very straight, hands resting on your knees. This is the ideal position. However, if it is too painful for your knees or feet to sit like this, then sit cross legged. Blow through the mouth, through the lips, concentrating on the exhalation only. Inhale will happen automatically. Simultaneously with each exhalation, pull your stomach in firmly. Then immediately relax the stomach and repeat.

Imagine you are blowing out birthday candles a foot away from you. Don’t get discouraged if this does not come smoothly to you, or if you are out of sync with the rest of the class. Keep practicing and it will get better. You can look forward to your abdomen becoming stronger and your digestive system functioning better.